National / International News

VIDEO: Queen 'won't interfere in Scots poll'

BBC - Tue, 2014-09-09 14:30
Any suggestion that the Queen would wish to influence the Scottish referendum campaign is "categorically wrong", Buckingham Palace has said.

Obama Tells Lawmakers He Has Authority He Needs For Islamic State Fight

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-09 14:27

The implication is that President Obama will not seek Congressional approval for any military action against the militant Sunni group.

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U2 give away new album on iTunes

BBC - Tue, 2014-09-09 14:26
The first album in five years by veteran Irish rock band U2 is offered for free to the 500 million users of Apple's iTunes service.

Tory MP's website bullying claim

BBC - Tue, 2014-09-09 14:24
Aberconwy MP Guto Bebb claims in the House of Commons the business partner of fellow north Wales Tory David Jones is behind a blog that has "harassed, abused and bullied" people.

Tax Breaks May Turn San Francisco's Vacant Lots Into Urban Farms

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-09 14:00

San Francisco is one of many U.S. cities rolling out incentives to grow food on unused land. But some San Franciscans argue that land should be used to address the acute affordable housing shortage.

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Love And Sex In The Time Of Viagra — 16 Years On

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-09 14:00

Longer lives means more decades of intimacy. Drugs that help male physiology match desire have affected more than just the body, men who take these pills say.

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VIDEO: Early hands-on with the Apple Watch

BBC - Tue, 2014-09-09 13:46
Watch: The BBC's Richard Taylor takes a look at Apple's new smartwatch, which was unveiled in California on Tuesday.

VIDEO: Apple unveils Watch and iPhone 6

BBC - Tue, 2014-09-09 13:38
Apple unveils its much anticipated Watch, as well as the latest models of its iPhone at a launch ceremony in California.

Ebola 'threat to Liberia existence'

BBC - Tue, 2014-09-09 13:27
Liberia is facing a "serious threat" to its national existence as the deadly Ebola virus "spreads like wildfire", its defence minister says.

Blast kills Syria Islamist leader

BBC - Tue, 2014-09-09 13:25
The leader and several top commanders of the Syrian Islamist insurgents Ahrar al-Sham are killed in a bomb blast at a meeting.

Andorra 1-2 Wales

BBC - Tue, 2014-09-09 13:17
Gareth Bale scores a late free-kick to ensure Wales beat Andorra in their Euro 2016 qualification opener.

What can retailers do after the Home Depot hack?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-09-09 13:09

Retailers are increasingly seen as vulnerable to hackers. The cyberattack on Home Depot may be the largest data breach in history, and attacks have been made on Neiman Marcus, Target and Goodwill stores, just to name a few.

Remember back in the day when online shopping gave people the jitters? Those days, says Matthew Prince of CloudFlare, are over.

“I feel more safe in putting my credit card into an online form than I do handing it to a waiter at a restaurant,” he says.

Many of us don’t understand, Prince says, that the cash register is more than a point-of-sale device where we swipe our credit card. It is actually a computer.

In this Home Depot attack, and other similar ones, hackers are breaking in to that software system and stealing our credit and debit card information.

Lillian Ablon, a researcher with Rand, says, right now, the attackers are at least one step in front of the merchants.

“We’re in the golden age of cyber where there are still a lot of holes, still a lot of gaps,” she says.

One of the gaping gaps? Our sale information.

Forrester Research analyst John Kindervag says it’s too easy to grab that information when it enters the store computers. There’s a simple fix, though — encryption.

“That technology actually exists off the shelf. It just has to be purchased,” he says.

Of course, the magic word is "purchased."

“Retail is a low-margin, cheap business. So any time they have to spend money, they don’t want to do it,” says Kindervag.

In many cases, stores would need to upgrade hardware and software; for the largest companies, we are talking millions of dollars in equipment investments. 

Kindervag says the other issue is encrypting this data could stifle other lines of business for retailers.

“It will potentially mean they have to do business intelligence and marketing intelligence in totally different ways, and that will be a disruption of their decades-old business model,” he says.

Kindervag predicts retailers would shape up if consumers started shopping with competitors who take data breaches seriously.

More people own cats than stock these days

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-09-09 13:09

Some news at the tail end of the day for you:

According to CNN Money, more people own cats than individual stocks, which exclude mutual funds and all that good stuff.

New numbers out from the Federal Reserve show that just under 14 percent of Americans own individual stocks right now. That's down from a high of 18 percent before the recession.

Meanwhile, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 30 percent of households own at least one cat.

Parking blunder leaves car on wall

BBC - Tue, 2014-09-09 13:05
A car ends up on a church wall when a woman accidentally hits the accelerator and crashes while parking her vehicle.

One Month Later: Michael Brown's Family Calls For Arrest

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-09 13:02

The family held a news conference in Ferguson, Mo., where Officer Darren Wilson had a fatal confrontation with the unarmed Brown, 18, one month ago today.

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In An Era Of Gridlock, Does Controlling The Senate Really Matter?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-09 12:58

As the midterm elections near, Republicans are increasingly confident they will control both houses of Congress. But even if they do, the clashes will likely continue.

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Padilla given longer prison sentence

BBC - Tue, 2014-09-09 12:49
Jose Padilla, a US citizen convicted on terrorism charges, is given a new prison sentence after a court ruled his previous term too lenient.

Does 'something rented' count as 'something borrowed'?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-09-09 12:41

Americans buy a lot of stuff on the Internet — more than $262 billion worth last year, according to the Commerce Department. These days consumers can order pretty much anything online, including what they wear on their wedding day.

Dan Stover and his wife, Megan, got married a year ago this month. In the photos, the groom and his groomsmen are sporting seersucker bow ties, yellow boutonnieres and slim gray suits. “You can see it’s quality fabric,” says Stover. “It’s not like it’s polyester or something.” 

The suits were rentals, but not from a strip mall chain store. They came in the mail a week before the wedding, from  

“First thing I did was rip that thing open and I tried it on,” Stover says. “I wanted to see if this was a total disaster or a home run, and the fit was perfect. For our wedding, maybe it was a little bit of a leap of faith.”

The Black Tux is a web-only retailer, so Stover couldn’t try his suit on in advance. But the site lets customers enter their body type and measurements, then runs the information through an algorithm to fine-tune the fit before shipping. Stover says the customer reviews were good, and as a busy medical fellow, he was used to buying clothes online to save time. He says he also saved his five best friends a lot of money.

“It was like $100 and change. That’s less than renting a standard tux, and far less than buying a suit.”  

Without the cost of running retail stores, web-only companies can invest more in their products and sell them for less. The Black Tux launched last year and just wrapped its first full wedding season, with inventory fully booked as much as two months in advance.  

“I think absolutely that signals a huge consumer shift,” says Andrew Blackmon, co-founder of The Black Tux. “If people are able to trust us with the tuxedo rentals for arguably the most important day of their lives, I think that shows that people are adopting e-commerce at a level that they probably weren’t in the last five years.”

The top 200 web-only retailers (excluding Amazon) racked up almost $38 billion in sales last year — up 22 percent from the year before, according to  

“There’s another trend that’s underlying this as well, which is our willingness, maybe even preference to rent things instead of buying them outright,” says David Bell, professor of marketing and e-commerce at the University of Pennsylvania. His case in point: Rent the Runway. The website launched for women in 2009, renting designer dresses for as little as $30. The company now has more than 5 million members and just added a monthly rental program. It has been called a "Netflix for clothes."

“Firms have [gotten] better about giving us pre-information through better technology, better pictures, free returns and so on,” Bell says. “So I think we’ve gradually been trained to buying almost anything online.”

A new report from Business Insider shows 18- to-34-year-olds still spend more money online than any other age group, and in that demographic, 40 percent of guys and a third of women say they would “ideally buy everything online.”

Dan Stover says he’d recommend renting a wedding suit from the web to almost anyone. 

His wife, Megan, approves, too. “I think he looked quite handsome, and I thought the suits looked amazing,” she says.  

As for her wedding dress, she felt more comfortable getting it the old-fashioned way — from a store.  

PCA boss sorry for Moeen comments

BBC - Tue, 2014-09-09 12:38
PCA chief executive Angus Porter apologises for saying England batsman Moeen Ali should treat boos "as a positive".

The Video, The Tabloid Site And The NFL's Unwanted Reckoning

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-09 12:38

The assault by former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice on his then-fiancee was public knowledge. But new video released by TMZ on Monday defined the story, says NPR's David Folkenflik.

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